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Milken Students Make Compassion Stylish


Students of Milken Community High School were stylin’ on the runway at Stephen S. Wise Temple on Mulholland for the Fashion with Compassion event on November 4. A student-run charity started by two sophomores to combine their love of fashion with a worthy cause, the event has attracted national sponsorship and raised thousands of dollars for charities in Israel. The event has grown every year since its conception in 2008 and become an annual event for the private Jewish high school.

This year, the event benefitted Beite Issie Shapiro, an organization that helps children with disabilities, providing therapy, advocacy and education.

In fact, Fashion with Compassion has become so successful that the founders, Lexie Sokolow and Celine Yousefzadeh, now in their sophomore years at college, hope to carry the message to other schools across the country.

The show featured 64 students exhibiting fashions from 25 vendors, strutting and dancing down the runway with techno music and disco lighting entirely designed by students, to a packed audience. Completing the aura of a “real†runway show with swag bags on every seat, the clothing, jewelry, make-up and accessories were entirely student-managed. A vendor-boutique sold fashions from the show and beyond at a discount to benefit the event.

The entire Milken school participates to produce Fashion with Compassion, empowering students to make a difference for people facing adversity around the world. The skills they learn are valuable tools for their future.

Fashion with Compassion started as a small event to benefit the City of Sderot, Israel, which was being hit daily by rockets. The concept was to have a charity fashion show to raise money and awareness of their plight. The first show was held at Milken Community High School in 2008 and raised $5,000. Celine was able to hand-deliver the check to the city in 2009.

Seeing the incredible value of Fashion with Compassion, Milken adopted it as an annual event, raising $6,000 in 2009-10 for Atidim Center, an organization that supports the young men and women of Rehovot, Israel to help them reach their potential and achieve their goals.

The next two years brought more students on board and more vendors. The school has partnered with Stephen S. Weise Temple for Mitzvah Day, an event that benefits a number of charities on one day, including Fashion with Compassion. In 2010-11 they raised $10,000 for Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based project to improve pediatric cardiac care; and in 2011-12, Elyia, an Israeli organization for children who are blind or have impaired vision, raising $15,000.

In 2011, the founders, Celine and Lexie, passed the torch to the next generation of young, ambitious and conscientious volunteers. This 2011-12 event was the biggest event yet. Using this template, they hope Fashion with Compassion will grow big enough to be in schools across the country.

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